1 What is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

Rocky mountain spotted fever is a disease caused by bacteria called R. rickettsia belonging to rickettsia family.

This bacterium requires a vector to infect humans. Such kind of infections are called zoonotic infections. Ticks are the common vectors for this disease.

Mostly ticks are not the ones who suffer from this infection human are the host for this bacterium. Rocky mountain disease was first described in the year 1930.

First found out in United States later speeded to parts of central America and south America. Although availability of good treatment against this bacteria 3-5% people who get infected with it die.

However, with effective antibiotic treatment the percentage of death can be reduced for instance before the discovery of tetracycline and chloramphenicol during late 1940’s about 30% of the people who were infected with this bacterium ended up dying.

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2 Symptoms

The symptoms of rocky mountain spotted fever vary depending on its stage.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is very difficult to diagnose in its initial stage. Highly experienced physicians face problems in recognizing this disease, due to its two-week incubation period.

Before it starts showing the effects. People infected with spotted fever experience a wide array of symptoms which are common for many different diseases.

Initial symptoms include:

  • Fever,
  • nausea,
  • emesis (vomiting),
  • severe headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • lack of appetite

Later symptoms include:

  • Maculopapular rash,
  • Petechial rash,
  • abdominal pain,
  • conjunctivitis,
  • forgetfulness.

A triad of symptoms are always present in spotter fever, they are: Fever, rash and a history of tick bite.

Most often the rash begins with small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots(macules) on wrists, forearms and ankles.

The characteristic petechial rash of rock mountain spotted fever appears on the sixth day after the onset of symptoms.

3 Causes

Rocky mountain spotted fever is caused by tick bite.

Rocky mountain spotted fever is a zoonotic infection, the diseases which are transmitted to humans by means of a vector such as mosquito, tick, mite.

For this disease ticks are common vectors, vectors are never effected by pathogen they just transmit the pathogen from one place to another.

The pathogen in this disease is R. rickettsia. Ticks transmit the pathogens to vertebrates by their bites. After their transmission to humans.

By means of receptor invasion mechanism they enter into the human body.

Once this pathogen enters into the human body it migrates to different organs, subsequent replication by means of binary fusion takes place and may evoke the process of apoptosis (activation of cell death) in the cells of the organ infected.

4 Making a Diagnosis

In order for your doctor to make a proper diagnosis of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, he or she will need to know about your symptoms in detail.

It is likely that you will visit your family doctor in the first place . Depending on your condition your doctor may refer you to a specialist in infectious diseases.

Before making appointment, be sure to ask what should be done before appointment date.

  • Write down any symptoms you experience.
  • Make a note of your recent life changes or any travel.
  • Make a list of the vitamins and supplements that are being taken by you.
  • Prepare a list of questions which you want to ask the doctor.

For rocky mountain spotted fever disease some basic questions that you may need to ask your doctor:

  • What is the most probable reason for cause of my symptoms?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • What are the possible ways to treat this disease?
  • What is the recommended method of treatment?
  • I have some other health problems.
  • How to manage both problems together?

The questions which may be expected from your doctor are:

  • What are your common complaints?
  • Which time are they bothering you most?
  • Do you have any pets at home?
  • Did you travel in recent past?
  • Where did you travel?
  • Does anyone else have this condition in your family?
  • The early signs and symptoms of this disease are similar to many common diseases specific tests must be carried out such as CBC ( common blood count), physical examination is carried out by the doctor as the first step.

After assessing the patient doctor proceeds to next step in which he might take a biopsy (material taken for investigation. And send it for lab investigations).

5 Treatment

For treatment of rock mountain spotted fever antibiotics are used. Even in clinical cases if there is a suspicion of rocky mountain disease.

Treatment should not be delayed until the lab results. Severely diseased patients take longer time to cure, especially if the disease was spared to major organs.

Doxycycline (a tetracycline) for adults a dosage of 100 mg for every 12 hours is recommended and for children under 45 kg a dose of 4mg per kilogram is used to treat rock mountain disease.

Treatment should be at least for three days after the fever subsides. The clinical signs of relief are generally noticed after five to ten days.

Sever cases of infection may take longer time to cure. Chloramphenicol is an alternative drug which can be used to treat rocky mountain disease.

However, this drug might require high level of monitoring due to its wide array of side effects.

6 Prevention

To prevent rocky mountain disease one must look the cause of the disease.

As this disease is caused by tick bite avoiding these tick bites can be helpful.

  • Wearing long pants and sleeves - While walking in grassy areas or in woods wear proper shoes and give preference to pants instead of shorts must be done. Avoid walking through bushes and long grass and stick to trails.
  • Use insect repellents - Products containing DEET (off! Deep woods) are capable of repelling ticks. Clothing which contains permethrin as a coating is toxic to ticks and can be helpful in decreasing exposure to ticks.
  • Careful camping - If you are on a camping trip please try to make sure place where you camp should be free of bushes and try to keep woodpiles in sunny areas.
  • Self-checkup -  after your visit to woods or any area with grass and bushes perform a self-checkup. Examine on your body for ticks these ticks sometimes are the size of pin head which makes them difficult to see. It is recommended that after visit to the woods one must take bath.
  • Removal of ticks - after spotting ticks remove them with the aid of tweezers. Don’t squeeze the ticks just gently pull carefully and steadily. After removing tick apply antiseptic to the area.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for rocky mountain spotted fever.

According to some investigations rocky mountain spotted fever can be cured by injecting vitamin c intravenously in high doses.

Homeopathic medicine was able to provide quick, effective and completely safe to treat rocky mountain disease.

Byrilona alba  30c, acetaminophen, doxycycline three drugs were used in combined therapy for better results.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

The symptoms of rocky mountain spotted fever can affect the lifestyle of the patient.

Living with the symptoms of rocky mountain spotted fever is not easy.

Rashes appear on the skin after 2-5 days of infection. Headache, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite significantly affect the lifestyle of the patient.

If the disease is spread to the organs, it might also cause failure of organs. The person usually takes 5-10 days to completely recover.

If treated wisely these symptoms might disappear quickly and patient heals quickly.